Monday 29 September 2014

Paul Dale

The second in this humorous 'Handbook' and a must if you enjoyed the first.

The Dark Lord's Handbook: Conquest The Dark Lord's Handbook: Conquest

My review - 

Morden, who has learnt all his Dark Lording from a book legible only to him, is now intent upon Issuing Forth from his dread stronghold to conquer his enemies. There are heroes intent upon stopping him and they have recruited some ancient beings to help. Griselda, his foul-mouthed Dark Queen, leaves and opposes him. However, a new flight of dark dragons arises to assist him. There's a furious battle at the end and things throughout didn't always turn out as I expected.

I loved Book One of this series and the same wry humour pervades this second book. For a ruthless, self-serving villain, Lord Morden Deathwing has an endearing side and I find myself torn between wanting the 'goodies' to win - including a rich and self-indulgent Chancellor and cheering for an undead dragonlich. Such is the persuasive power of Paul Dale's writing. Very enjoyable.

Darren Humphries

Here's a selection of dark short stories - sensational, as pulp fiction is.

They Came From Beyond Pulp They Came From beyond Pulp

My review -

This is a great selection of short stories of varying length. What they have in common is the voice of the author who writes in a very accessible style and uses words cleverly. I enjoy his barbed wit and gentle horror. I don’t mean it’s wimpy but it never goes beyond the bounds of taste. These stories remind me a little of the old Tales of the Unexpected. I enjoyed them all but the first and the last were my favourites. It’s always good to leave a book with the memory of enjoyment. Clever, intriguing and… unexpected, this is a short-novel length collection of stories which will blow on the back of the neck of your imagination. Delightfully dangerous!

Monday 22 September 2014

David McGowan

I enjoyed David's first book, The Hunter Inside, but this story hangs together better, in my opinion. It's the first of a trilogy and we shouldn't have to wait too soon for the second.

From the Sky: Arrival  From the Sky: Arrival

My review -

This is a First Contact story set in America and we meet a small group of people who, in a very short time, have their whole existence overturned. They are individuals who each have a lot of baggage and carry history and sometimes tragedy of their own, even before they see the three massive ships in the air above them and find out what they are capable of. This is just the first of a trilogy and I don't want to spoil it with too much detail but it involves this group in a road trip. One is a small boy with his grandfather and his pet dog and he features in the exciting climax of book one.

I loved the writing, the atmosphere of helplessness and the dogged determination of Jim, the lawman, to uphold the law he believes in, even when it appears pointless to others. There are a few loose ends to be tied up and they augur well for the sequels. The interplay between the characters was enough to keep the tension racked up and the end was exciting enough to increase my heart-rate for a couple of pages. I thought it was excellent.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Sheila Perry

This is (at the time of reading/writing) a hot topic. It's a speculation on the future of Scotland with its independence and its battle against climate change. I found it thought provoking and amusing.

The Mountain and the Flood The Mountain and the Flood

My review -

Gavin and Emma live in an Independent Scotland some years in the future. This book was published in 2010 when to most of us, Scottish Independence probably still felt fairly fictional. Emma works for the Scottish government and is concerned about the effects of climate change. Gavin is an archaeologist and spends more time with their teenaged children than Emma can. Gradually, the authorities take draconian measures and Emma, opposing them, is edged out of her job. When things get out of hand, the couple’s son Dan becomes involved with an environmental group and gets himself locked up. Climate change makes violent weather and eroded coastlines and rivers commonplace. It’s a bleak looking future!

I really enjoyed this book. Whatever your feelings about the current debate, you will enjoy the humour in here. I loved things like the recent epidemic of flamingo flu! Warmer weather doesn’t just affect the polar bears. The story is told alternately from Emma’s and Gavin’s viewpoints and although at the beginning they appear to be a couple growing apart, the family comes through in the end. I love a bit of speculation, especially when it both makes me think and makes me laugh!

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Lexie Conynhgam

Another adventure of Charles Murray of Letho and his butler, Robbins. It's a complete story but oh, how I want to know what happened next!

The Tender Herb

Amazon .com The Tender Herb

My review - 

Charles Murray of Letho is in self-imposed exile in Italy with Robbins, his butler. Robbins receives a letter from the erstwhile maid, Mary, who married a soldier and moved to India, to Delhi. Her husband is accused of murdering a man of the cloth and is being held in jail and she begs that Robbins might come, if Murray will allow him, to help her secure his release. Murray, on the point if being trapped into a marriage he doesn't want, decides that he will go too.

This is just the opening section of the story in which Murray and his butler take a long sea voyage and an overland trip of many months. Robbins develops a touching fondness for elephants and Murray befriends a mynah bird. More deaths take place and Murray finally faces the culprit. The ending is fast and exciting and, after watching Murray’s progress like a fussy mummy, I finally witnessed his wedding. Oh deary me! This is another hugely enjoyable story, complete of itself but leaving the reader longing for more.